Character: Sodium nitrate is the chemical compound with the formula NaNO3. This salt, also
known as Chile saltpeter or Peru sal
1. Sodium nitrate can be combined with iron hydroxide to make a resin.
2. Sodium nitrate should not be confused with the related compound, sodium nitrite. Sodium
nitrate in the brine gives cooked corned beef its classic reddish color (without it corned beef
comes out gray), and it kills botulism spores. Nitrate is actually changed to nitrite by bacterial
action during processing and storage and nitrate itself has no effect on meat color.
3. It can be used in the production of nitric acid by combining it with sulfuric acid and subsequent
separation through fractional distillation of the nitric acid, leaving behind a residue of sodium
bisulfate. Hobbyist gold refiners use sodium nitrate to make a hybrid aqua regia that dissolves
gold and other metals.
4. Less common applications include its use as a substitute oxidizer used in fireworks as a
replacement for potassium nitrate commonly found in black powder and as a component in instant
5. Sodium nitrate is used together with potassium nitrate for heat storage and, more recently, for
heat transfer in solar power plants.
6. It is also used in the wastewater industry for facultative microorganism respiration.
Nitrosomonas, a genus of microorganisms, consumes nitrate in preference to oxygen, enabling it
to grow more rapidly in the wastewater to be treated.